Lions DE Ansah frustrated by injuries

Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (94) has not played since the season opener against the New York Jets.Photo: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions have not seen their most fearsome defensive playmaker on the field since the season opener against the Jets.

That could change this weekend as defensive end Ezekiel Ansah was listed as questionable for Sunday's matchup against the Miami Dolphins after practicing on a limited basis for the third straight day Friday.

"I'm pretty good. Yeah," Ansah told the Detroit Free-Press when asked whether he feels healthy enough to rejoin the lineup.

Ansah, who suffered a shoulder injury in a Week 1 loss to the Jets, termed his availability for Sunday a "coach's decision."

The team and first-year head coach Matt Patricia have not revealed the severity of Ansah's injury, prompting some fans to direct their ire at the sixth-year veteran's absence.

"It doesn't matter what's fair or not. I just got to do what's best for me and the team," said Ansah of the criticism. "I get (that fan frustration) and that only tells me how much love they got for me. They just want me to come out there and play and that's what I'm going at. I come in here every single day just to get better and be out there and play with the boys."

A first-round pick (No. 5 overall) of the Lions in the 2013 NFL Draft, Ansah amassed 30 sacks over his first three seasons, including a career-high 14.5 in 2015.

The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Ansah saw his production dip to 2.0 sacks in 2016 as he dealt with a high ankle sprain that hampered him throughout the season.

Ansah bounced back to register 12.0 sacks last season even though he was also hampered by a knee injury that led surgery in the offseason.

Detroit slapped the franchise tag on Ansah in April, and he is playing this year on a one-contract that is worth $17.1 million.

The Lions (2-3) are one game behind the first-place Chicago Bears in the tightly bunched NFC North. Aside from the 48-17 shellacking by the Jets, the defense has held up fairly well without Ansah, ranking 11th in the league with 17.0 sacks, but they are 30th against the rush.

Ansah is eager to contribute and put the injuries that have hampered the past two seasons behind him.

"I wouldn't wish (the injuries) upon nobody," said Ansah. "I'm just happy that I've been better over the weeks and I'm just looking forward to keep improving."

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